Form and function: the things that improved the way we live in 2015

  • The best homeware products that made our home life that bit easier
  • Have you spotted any of these trends, and do you have any of these at home?
  • Products that are affordable as well as beautiful

Words: Becky Sunshine

Becky Sunshine

I don’t know about you, but as a busy working new mother choosing products that help me live efficiently and with added comfort, those things that will help my home run smoothly, have become the things I’m drawn to. Most of the time. I’ll admit I’m a sucker for style too, but why can’t form and function marry up? Good design is so much more accessible these days so products for your home should and can be useful and beautiful. Here are some of my favourites from 2015:

 

1. Hive Home

Hive thermostat

This has been one of my top launches of the year – a new thermostat; I confess I even now have one in my own home, which I love. The Hive is all about connectivity, and between the incredibly simple design by the brilliant Yves Béhar (a design industry favourite name) and its super-simple interface, which is operated by a foolproof app (even I can do it!). I think this is a product that will run and run with great success.

 

2. Ikea launched the SINNERLIG collection by Ilse Crawford

SINNERLIG collection

This was a highly anticipated launch, especially by those of us in the industry. You might not recognise Ilse Crawford’s name, but her aesthetic has permeated both the luxury end and high street design like no one else I can think of. Hers is a really lovely, homey, relaxed look, one that is easily achieved with just a few simple pieces. I love how her interiors just never look over-designed, but more like the way we’d all like to live. And now she’s created a line for Ikea and happily it’s really good. It comprises around 30 pieces, mostly made from cork, ceramic and glass. I’m mad about her trestle table with the steel-coated legs – it feels like a future classic.

 

3. High-speed blenders (the Nutri Blitzer)

The super-speedy blenders have been on the market for a couple of years now, but something crazy happened this year and they’re everywhere. Perhaps it’s all those clean eating cookbooks, but everyone’s on board. I like and have used the Nutri Blitzer, which launched over the summer. It’s fast, efficient, easy to clean and doesn't look bad on the kitchen counter either. And to be really honest, the name made me laugh.

 

4. Copper and brass

Warm metals have been lurking around the design scene for a while, but this year felt like a real explosion onto the high street and into our homes. I find it’s an accessible antidote to chrome and polished steel, which feels a bit cold in the current mood. Everything from lights to occasional furniture, even kitchen utensils and office accessories have been reimagined in brass or copper. I’m definitely a fan.

 

5. Cosy textures 

Cosy textures

The effects of fashion have most definitely spilled over into homeware, meaning this year, really fun, unusual faux fur and seriously chunky knits have made it from the catwalk into the home. I believe that interesting textures can really transform a living space and these fuzzy surfaces offer a fast track to cold weather cosiness. I’m into furry throws for either the foot of a bed or slung over a sofa, while a knitted pouf is the comfiest of footstools, while you’re curled up in front of the telly.

 

6. Exposed feature bulbs

Exposed feature bulbs

I’m attracted to the industrial style of the last few years – a look that usually starts in shop and restaurant design and then finds its softer domestic version that we will want to live with. That’s certainly true for exposed designer bulbs – you know, bulbs that replace light-fittings themselves and become the feature itself. The bulbs are more expensive than regular bulbs, but then you’re not spending money on fancy light fittings so it probably works out less anyway. For those feeling brave, contrast colourful flexes are also taking the lighting world by storm and can be really effective. I like this look for kitchens and hallways in particular.

 

7. Graphic kilim rugs

Graphic kilim rug

The traditional flat weave wool rugs that come from the Middle East and the Eastern Med are finding new life in current interiors trends. Reimagined with bold, graphic patterns, they now look modern and effortlessly cool in our homes. M&S has created some nice ones, as have West Elm – a North American company that opened last year in the UK. Definitely worth checking out.

 

8. Anglepoise lamps

Anglepoise lamps

There was a huge resurgence in the design classic (first created in 1935!) and in particular in delicious bright shades. I’ll admit there are loads of good copies around, which are cheaper, but I love the original, revived by the well-loved fashion designer Margaret Howell in the sunniest yellow. I want a pair as bedside lamps for my bedroom, but they work equally well in a home office or as a reading light in the living room.

 

9. Neon shades

Neon shades

Last year’s terribly tasteful shades of grey paint in the home are all very well (and actually really nice – my entire house is grey and white), but this year has been all about those lovely highlight brights, those much needed fluoro bursts that bring a room to life. I’ve loved this trend and see it lasting a while, but if really strong colour makes you nervous, I’d suggest starting with small accessories, such as vases or a cushion cover to make a statement.

 

10. Real marble

Marble table

There’s been quite the return to natural materials of late and in particular the classic greyish white, veiny carrara marble. Not only the surface to replace the ubiquitous ceramic metro tiles in bathrooms (Topps Tiles do an excellent one for £14.95 per tile) but it’s also making its way into the kitchen. Beautiful cutting boards, made with both wood and marble look graphic and modern (I love the ones from Trouva.com, for £45) while side tables (Swoon Editions £119) and butchers blocks (M&S has a lovely, somewhat expensive version) are an investment worth making as these pieces are timeless and will improve with age.

Marble chopping board

 

 

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